BOSTON — David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox avoided salary arbitration by agreeing Monday to a one-year contract worth $14,575,000.
The deal for the slugging designated hitter was midway between the $16.5 million he asked for last month and the $12.65 million submitted by the Red Sox, which matched his 2011 earnings.
Ortiz became a free agent after the season then passed up a chance to go elsewhere when he accepted Boston's arbitration offer on Dec. 7.
"I feel happy since I avoided going to arbitration," he said on Monday, hours before the hearing had been scheduled to start in St. Petersburg, Fla. "People are used to see me with the Red Sox uniform and when you have so much time in one organization, and you're identified with it, the best thing is to stay, even if it is for 1 or 2 million less."
The Red Sox have not gone to an arbitration hearing in 10 years and have no unsigned players eligible for arbitration.
Ortiz hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs last year.
Signed as a free agent from the Minnesota Twins in 2003, the 36-year-old is entering his 10th season with the Red Sox.
"I figure I was gonna reach this deal, and that's what we're celebrating right now," he said.
He played last season in the option year of a contract that paid him $65,225,000 over five seasons.
Ortiz remains in the middle of a Red Sox lineup that has undergone several changes since the team went 7-20 last September and missed the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
Left fielder Carl Crawford is expected to miss the start of the season after surgery on his left wrist; shortstop Marco Scutaro was traded to Colorado; and catcher Jason Varitek and right fielder J.D. Drew were not re-signed.
But the first five batters in the lineup return led by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who finished second in the AL MVP voting. Also back are second baseman Dustin Pedroia, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Ortiz had an outstanding season after getting off to poor starts the previous two years.
He finished fourth in the AL in slugging and on-base percentage and sixth in batting average. His average, homers, RBIs, 162 hits, 70 extra-base hits, 40 doubles, .398 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage were all his highest totals in four years.
Ortiz is fifth in team history with 320 homers, 59 behind Dwight Evans for fourth place, and sixth with 1,028 RBIs, 219 behind Bobby Doerr for fifth place.
The 36-year-old accepted Boston's offer of arbitration under the last year of the old collective bargaining agreement. Starting this fall, instead of arbitration teams may give their players qualifying offers equal to the average salary of the top 125 players ranked by salary.
Boston also has agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander John Maine, who has not been asked to attend big league camp.
He last pitched in the majors in 2010, starting nine games for the New York Mets before elbow surgery. Last year, he was 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 46 innings with Colorado's Triple-A team at Colorado Springs. In five years with the Mets, Maine was 41-36 with a 4.35 ERA. His best season was 2007 when he went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA.
A'S SIGN PRIZED CUBAN DEFECTOR: After a winter of rebuilding, the Oakland Athletics were the surprise winner for Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes and the A's have agreed to a $36 million, four-year contract — quite a splash for the low-budget franchise that traded away several key faces this offseason.
Agent Adam Katz confirmed Monday the slugging outfielder had reached agreement on a deal, with details still to be finalized. This is a significant move for Oakland, which wanted to add a steady hitter.
Cespedes will earn $6.5 million this year, $8.5 million in 2013 and $10.5 million in each of the final two seasons. He can become a free agent at the end of the contract, which is the highest for a Cuban defector. Cespedes' deal tops Jose Contreras' $32 million, four-year contract with the Yankees before the 2003 season.
The A's expect Cespedes to secure his P1 visa in the next couple of weeks, travel to the team's Arizona spring training site to take his physical and be ready to start training shortly thereafter.
The team also still has interest in slugger Manny Ramirez. The A's, hoping to be given clearance from Major League Baseball to relocate to San Jose and construct a new ballpark, have been in rebuilding mode this offseason. Oakland traded starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and also All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.
Cespedes toured the Miami Marlins' new downtown ballpark last Wednesday, and appeared to have other suitors, as well. In a surprising move, it was the A's who made a splash and outbid some big-spending clubs.
"You don't land everybody you want to land. But I think we've been aggressive," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "We're really happy with the way the club looks. You always have a sense of disappointment when you're trying to either trade for or sign a player. It's not the first time and won't be the last. We would certainly wish him well."
Cespedes played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and is projected to be ready for the majors. Cespedes said six teams were interested in signing him: the Marlins, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs and White Sox.
Major League Baseball said Monday it has been told by Cespedes' agent that he has obtained an unblocking license from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control — another key step to him signing.
In January, Cespedes' representatives announced he had established legal residency in the Dominican Republic, the final hurdle to him becoming a free agent. MLB then had to receive proof of residency before clubs were notified of his status as a free agent.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the agreement.
INDIANS SIGN GARLAND TO MINOR LEAGUE DEAL: Jon Garland may give the Cleveland Indians yet another option for their uncertain rotation.
The right-hander, who has won 132 games in the majors for five teams, agreed Monday to a minor league contract with the Indians, who have four starting spots filled but want to add depth and experience. Garland's deal is contingent on him passing a physical in the next week at the Indians' training complex in Goodyear, Ariz.
Garland's 2011 season was cut short by a shoulder injury. He went 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA in just nine starts for the Dodgers before shoulder surgery in July.
As long as he passes his physical, the 32-year-old Garland would get a shot to start for the Indians, who still don't know whether they will have the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona in 2012. Carmona, whose real name according to officials in the Dominican Republic is Roberto Heredia Hernandez, is facing charges of using a false identity in his native country so he could play in the U.S. He was arrested last month and placed on baseball's restricted list.
The Indians have no idea if or when Carmona will be cleared. Also, he could be facing additional penalties if he is permitted to return to the U.S.
The decision to bring in Garland is a low-risk, high-reward move for the Indians, who have four pitchers — Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe and Josh Tomlin — projected as starters. The club acquired Kevin Slowey in a trade from Colorado in the days after learning of Carmona's legal troubles, but Garland could be in the mix for the fifth spot with Slowey, David Huff, Zach McAllister and Jeanmar Gomez.
Garland's impressive resume includes two 18-win seasons (2005, 2006) for the Chicago White Sox. He has won at least 12 games seven times and pitched at least 200 innings in six seasons.
Garland won 14 games for the San Diego Padres in 2010. He has also pitched one season for Arizona.
Los Angeles signed Garland to a $5 million, one-year contract before last season. The team declined an $ 8 million option in October.
BLUE JAYS, RELIEVER AVOID ARBITRATION: Right-hander Casey Janssen and the Toronto Blue Jays have avoided salary arbitration, agreeing on a $5.9 million, two-year contract.
Janssen gets $2 million this year and $2.9 million in 2013. Monday's agreement includes a $4 million team option for 2014.
A hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Janssen was 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA and two saves in 55 relief appearances last year, when he made $1,095,000. The 30-year-old is 21-19 with nine saves and a 3.81 ERA in 199 relief appearances and 22 starts over five seasons.
He had asked for $2.2 million in arbitration and had been offered $1.8 million.
Garland has a 132-119 record with a 4.32 ERA in 330 starts.
YANKEES, PIRATES NEARING DEAL FOR BURNETT: The New York Yankees and Pirates have made progress toward a trade that would send much-maligned pitcher A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh would pay at least $10 million of the $33 million Burnett is owed in the final two seasons of his $82.5 million, five-year contract, a person familiar with the discussions said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.
The exact amount of money involved in the trade depends on the quality of the prospects the Yankees would receive, the person said.
Burnett, a 35-year-old right-hander, has struggled to a 34-35 record and 4.79 ERA during three seasons with New York and went 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA last year. His average of 3.98 walks per nine innings is second in the AL and fifth in the majors during that span among pitchers with 400 or more innings, according to STATS LLC.Comment on this story
New York appears to have an excess of starting pitchers after acquiring Michael Pineda from Seattle in a trade and agreeing to a one-year deal with free agent Hiroki Kuroda. They join holdovers CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.
In addition, the Yankees think highly of four starting prospects, right-handers Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and David Phelps, and left-hander Manny Banuelos. All are likely to start the season at Triple-A.
Burnett would join a rotation that includes newly signed Erik Bedard and returnees James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Jeff Karstens. Charlie Morton is recovering from hip surgery in October. When Morton is available, Karstens could return to the bullpen and spot starts.